Written by Meghan Gemma
Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor
(except where credited)
Among herbal wildflowers, goldenrod (Solidago spp.) has grown itself a special place in our hearts. Lighting up the late summer landscape with a warm glow, this native North American herb has an endearing repertoire of gifts: it’s a natural dye plant, an edible and medicinal herb, and a nectary flower for pollinators.
In homage, we’re placing inspirational information about this golden bloom directly in your hands! We’ve rounded up our favorite articles on using, preparing, and getting to know goldenrod.
Before browsing, I highly recommend listening to this song about Solidago by Josh Fox!
Dyeing with Goldenrod
Goldenrod’s flowers yield a warm yellow dye that brings the color of soft autumn sunshine to cotton, wool, and silk fabrics. I recommend this tutorial on dyeing with goldenrod by Salt in My Coffee. You can also pick up wonderful information on making successful plant dyes with master dyer Rebecca Desnos here.
Goldenrod has a wonderful resiny flavor that infuses beautifully into tea, honey, and baked goods. It can be imbibed or eaten for both medicine and pleasure. The blooms and leaves can also be used to craft medicinal oils and salves for topical use on the skin (see our article on making calendula oils and salves and swap in goldenrod flowers and leaves). These are a few of the most enticing goldenrod recipes I’ve encountered:
- Goldenrod Tea: An Herb for Urinary Tract Infections. This is our personal recipe for clearing up pesky urinary tract infections. Best of all: it’s delicious and features marshmallow, corn silk, and uva-ursi.
- Goldenrod Tincture: A Sinus Formula for Allergies, Colds, and Flu. Our go-to formula for sinus congestion related to allergies, colds, flu, and sinus infections.
- Holding Onto Gold - A Tea for Darker Days by The Wondersmith, featuring the uplifting medicine of goldenrod, rose, and anise hyssop.
- Goldenrod Cornbread, also by The Wondersmith. A gluten-free recipe seasonally flavored with goldenrod flowers, sunflower seeds, and pecans.
- Goldenrod Infused Oil by Robin Rose Bennett. This medicinal oil is a traditional remedy for aches, strains, and sprains.
Goldenrod Ecology and Ethnobotany
Goldenrod Benefits: The Bee's Knees for Allergies, Sinus Infections, and Urinary Tract Infections. Check it out! This is a special sneak peek from our Online Herbal Immersion, and it includes detailed information on identifying, gathering, preparing, and using goldenrod.
Goldenrod and Asters: My Life With Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is an excerpt from Kimmerer’s heart-stirring book, Braiding Sweetgrass. I recommend her book and writing to just about everyone! She is a plant ecologist, writer, professor, and citizen of the Potawatomi Nation.
Meet Our Contributors:
JULIET BLANKESPOOR founded the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2007 and serves as the school’s primary instructor and Creative Director. She's been a professional plant-human matchmaker for close to three decades. Juliet caught the plant bug when she was nineteen and went on to earn a degree in Botany. She's owned just about every type of herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now, an herbal school.
These days, she channels her botanical obsession with writing and photography in her online programs and here on her personal blog, Castanea. She's writing her first book: Cultivating Medicinal Herbs: Grow, Harvest, and Prepare Handcrafted Remedies from Your Home Garden. Juliet and her houseplants share a home with her family and herb books in Asheville, North Carolina.
MEGHAN GEMMA is one of the Chestnut School’s primary instructors through her written lessons, and is the principal pollinator of the school’s social media community—sharing herbal and wild foods wisdom from the flowery heart of the school to an ever-wider field of herbalists, gardeners, healers, and plant lovers.
She has been in a steady relationship with the Chestnut School since 2010—as an intern and manager at the Chestnut Herb Nursery; as a plant-smitten student “back in the day” when the school’s programs were taught in the field; and later as a part the school’s woman-powered professional team. Meghan lives in the Ivy Creek watershed, just north of Asheville, North Carolina.
Are you intrigued with the idea
of foraging but intimidated by where to start?
The course begins with the basic ground rules of foraging safety and ethics, and then moves on to botany and plant identification. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills and confidence to safely identify and harvest wild plants.
You’ll befriend THE most common edible and medicinal wayside plants, including dandelion, stinging nettles, violet, yarrow, burdock, rose, goldenrod, and many others. The printable manual is hundreds of pages long and filled with close-up photos for identification, medicinal uses, and loads of easy-to-follow recipes. In fact, most of our plant profiles contain more detail than you’ll find in any book on wild foods and herbs.
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Looking for more blog articles about goldenrod?
Check out our golden guide to gathering, growing, and using fall’s most iconic wildflower.